The Boston University men’s soccer team suffered yet another crushing late-game defeat on Sept. 25, losing to Lafayette College 1-0 in overtime at Oaks Stadium in Easton, Pennsylvania.
After a back and forth first 90 minutes, the Terriers (1-5-1, 1-1 Patriot League) conceded the game-winning goal to the Leopards (5-3-1, 1-0-1 PL) in just the second minute of overtime.
A downfield cross from Lafayette sailed over the Terriers’ line of defense and was headed by sophomore midfielder Carter Houlihan to the feet of junior midfielder Yiannis Panayides, who chipped the ball just over the outstretched hands of BU sophomore goalkeeper Andrew Wike and into the back of the net.
BU head coach Kevin Nylen attributed the defeat to a disappointing second-half performance, which he said then continued into the beginning of overtime.
“We were better in the first half, and in the second half, we weren’t really consistent in our rhythm of the game,” Nylen said postgame. “We didn’t have a great second half, and they were able to capitalize early on in overtime.
The defeat was BU’s fourth one-goal loss of the season and was particularly reminiscent of the Terriers’ match at St. John’s University on Sept. 10, which BU also lost on a game-winning goal in the opening seconds of overtime.
Playing on a grass field for the first time this season, it took time for the Terriers to find their game, but BU settled in by the midway point of the first half, finding possession of the ball and sending several shots on net.
The Terriers’ best chance came with eight minutes to go in the half when a close-range effort from grad student midfielder Peter Kargbo rifled just over the crossbar.
The momentum shifted back to the Leopards after the break. Lafayette fired off five second-half shots to the Terriers’ two and won five corners to BU’s three, taking control of the game into the sudden-death overtime period.
Wike made his first start of the season in goal, replacing junior goalkeeper Francesco Montali. Nylen said that Montali “wasn’t capable of playing” in the game, although he did not specify the reasoning behind the keeper’s absence.
Much like they have during the majority of this season, BU struggled offensively on Saturday. The team was held goalless for the third time this season, bringing their season average to just 0.71 goals per game. Nylen acknowledged the team’s scoring struggles, although he said he remains confident in the Terriers’ ability to find the back of the net.
“Our decision-making in the final third has just not been there,” Nylen said. “You eventually hope that goals will come. I don’t really look at it as a massive problem.”
BU now turns its attention to Wed., Sept. 29, at 6 p.m., when the team will continue Patriot League play in a match against Army West Point in West Point, New York.
Nylen emphasized the importance of BU focusing on its matchup with Army, rather than dwelling on the tough loss to Lafayette.
“This is week two of conference play, so we’re 1-1 in conference. We have a lot of soccer in front of us,” Nylen said. “It’s got to prepare us now for what’s ahead, and we look forward. We try to be a little better in terms of our reaction on Wednesday night against a tough, tough opponent on the road in Army.”